Originally Posted by DrumEatDrum
Yet, the only reason bands like Journey, Fleetwood Mac, Rush and many others became mega sellers is because they were allowed to make flops to develop their sound. Labels used to sign bands with long term goals of so many albums before they expected a return.
But since the late 80's, early 90's, all that went out the window. You either break on your first album, or get the hell off the label.
It was TV, and MTV in particular. Even the classical composer Ned Rorem said back in the 1980s that tv was going to change classical music the way it did popular music. Whether it is a rock performer or an opera performer once it's televised, they better look pretty.
But the bands you mentioned had many incarnations, Fleetwood Mac with Peter Green and then Bob Welch before they became the big multi-million seller with Buckingham and Nicks. Journey of course was a pseudo prog band before they got Jonathan Cain from the Baby's and Steve Perry. Prog was over. I'm not telling you anything you don't know. But these bands changes their sound with changes in pubic taste. Why should a company spend millions promoting a band that isn't selling after three albums? For every Rush or Bruce Springsteen who were given the your number's about up slip and then came back with a hit, there are thousands of acts who never followed up and produced that hit.
A bigger part of the problem is the way record companies measure success. Sony will drop an artist for selling 80,000-150,000 records when for most artists that would be far from failure. But the amount of investment the record company will put up warrants that.
I just picked up Chinese Democracy for 1.99 at Best Buy, which was failure. Best Buy Spent 1.6 million to have an exclusive, bought 1,000,000 units and only sold 600,000. So they are selling 400,000 titles at 2 bucks. Geffen spent near 14 million making it, and never recovered that investment. But listening to the album Axl sounds amazing and the songs seem good on my first few listens. I guess people were expecting another November Rain. It's an example of just how fickle the industry and buying public can be. And the artist.